• January 5th, 2012
  • Dafiq Hussein

The largest Chinese fixed line telecoms company, China Telecom, is set to launch a UK mobile phone business due to an agreement with Everything Everywhere, the combined British operations of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.

China Telecom has a goal to win customers outside its domestic market through the use of existing local networks as they now want to roll out their branded services to Chinese residents as well as international students and tourists that visit the UK from China.

The first deal is expected to be announced today which involves China Telecom Europe having signed a strategic partnership to use the network of Everything Everywhere. This is the largest UK mobile operator by way of customer numbers.

The UK has become one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists and international students, and the company is expecting a further rise in Chinese tourists as a result of the Olympics this year. China Telecom clearly eyes an opportunity as there will inevitably be thousands of tourists looking to make cheap calls to China in order to speak with relatives and friends.

China Telecom is to pay Everything Everywhere for the use of the network, the amount however is unknown. This process is usually cheaper than purchasing the correct infrastructure for the services directly.

It is also expected that China Telecom will use the UK operations as a platform to launch similar services in other European countries, such as France and Germany, at a later date. The firm is also now looking for a partner to provide services to Chinese residents in the US where they already have an arrangement with AT&T for use of its network for corporate customers.

The Managing Director of China Telecom Europe, Yan Ou, has been quoted saying: “Entering the UK mobile market is a strategic move. We are keen to launch the service in the UK as soon as possible as there is a real gap in the market for the provision of tailored mobile services and competitive tariffs aimed at the growing Chinese population in the UK.” This may well prove to be a frugal move by Mr Ou and his team.

Will we see further international telecoms companies targeting the UK this year? The Olympic buzz has certainly got firms all over the globe wondering how they can make an impressive profit. The 2012 Olympics are still seven months away, yet they are already playing a big part in the UK economy and British industries.